Shaynlin Smith – Winner, Best Short Film
Shaynlin is a 17-year-old senior from Drexel, Missouri. She is the founding chairman and current chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter at Drexel High School. Shayn is also the president of NHS, FBLA, FCCLA, and Student Council at Drexel High. Throughout high school, she was involved in football, basketball, basketball cheerleading, track and field, dance team, and scholar bowl. In her limited spare time, she enjoys volunteering at Restoration House of Greater Kansas City, attending leadership conferences, and spending time with her family. After she graduates, Shaynlin plans to attend Central Methodist University to Study Business Communications and Graphic Design. She is extremely honored to receive this award and grateful for the patriotism of Cass County, Missouri!
Watch Shaynlin’s Winning Short Film Below!
Our Interview With Shaynlin!
Was this the first time you entered the contest?
Yes! This is the first time that I have entered any video contest.
How did you hear about the contest?
I was searching for scholarship opportunities when I stumbled across Constituting America’s website.
What inspired your work?
I was inspired by all of the patriotism that is represented in my community and school. This video gave me a really great opportunity to visit places in my area that I usually wouldn’t take much time to appreciate.
What did you learn while creating your entry?
While creating my entry, I came to the realization that we are constantly surrounded by signs of freedom and independence. We may not always see the beauty that surrounds us, because you have to be looking for it in order to truly admire it.
How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
Through my leadership as the chairman of the Drexel Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), I am an advocate for the Constitution every single day at my school. This is something that may bother other people, but I am always willing to discuss my thoughts and the importance of the U.S. Constitution with those that agree or disagree with my views. YAF gives students the opportunity to meet a few times each year to talk about our rights and how to preserve them.
How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
I have many friends that enjoy learning and talking about American history and the Constitution, however, it is a goal of mine to get more students to understand how important knowledge of history and the Constitution is.
What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
I love everything about the founding of the United States! Every one of our founding fathers has such an incredible story. The most amazing thing about America’s founding is the fact that all odds were against the rebellion, and it is a miracle that freedom prevailed.
Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would love to visit Mount Rushmore. I have never traveled to South Dakota before, and I think that it would be really cool to see the sculpture in person.
Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
Sergeant William Harvey Carney is definitely the most inspirational historical figure that I have ever encountered. He served in the Civil War, fighting for his own freedom. He entered the line of fire to stop the American flag from touching the ground. Sergeant Carney survived several gunshot wounds, and became the first African American to receive a Medal of Honor.
Who is your greatest role model?
Ronald Reagan is a role model that has really impacted my life. I attended the 2021 Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Inaugural Program in Dixon, Illinois, and I got the chance to explore the town that he grew up in. His character, leadership, and accomplishments have influenced my life immensely.
What in your life are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about making a difference for my country, and giving back to my community. I am involved in many organizations that prioritize community service, and I currently volunteer at Restoration House of Greater Kansas City. While I don’t know what life has in store for me, I am certain that I will find time for charitable acts.
How do you spend your free time?
During my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, volunteering, and attending leadership conferences.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to attend Central Methodist University to study Business Communications and Graphic Design. During my time in college, I will participate in many internships and job shadowing opportunities in order to find a job that I am passionate about and excel at.
If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I would really like to do something to give back to veterans that have fought for our country. I have considered working for or starting my own nonprofit organization that would accomplish this goal. This really interests me, because many nonprofit organizations have really inspired me throughout my life.
Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution is more relevant today than ever before, because we continue to inch further and further away from the liberty that the Constitution provides. The Constitution will be relevant as long as America exists, because it lays the foundation of the government and provides U.S. citizens with their freedoms and rights.
So good and so true. Congratulations.